LINDIE NAUGHTON'S BADMINTON: Ireland's Sam Magee paired up with Sylvain Grosjean of France last April to win the men's doubles title at the European Junior Badminton Championships in Rome. Seeded at No1, the pair didn't drop a set in the four matches it t (2023)

Leinster's badminton team won promotion to the first division of the English Intercounties League and, as the year ends, is holding its own in that division. At the Irish Nationals in February, Scott Evans and Chloe Magee continued their domination of the event, winning the men's and women's singles.

After a few years living and training in Sweden, Magee is now based in Dublin and won the Autumn Open title in October. Evans remains in Denmark and, also in October, made the semi-finals of the Yonex Czech International. At the close of the year the Yonex Irish Open in Baldoyle attracted a top-quality entry. Best of the Irish were Sam and Chloe Magee who made the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles.

BOBSLEIGH: Last January, the Irish women's bobsleigh team of Aoife Hoey and Leona Byrne finished seventh in the European Cup in Cesana, Italy. A few days earlier Hoey and Claire Bergin had finished ninth at the World Junior Bobsleigh Championships, in Königssee on the German-

Austrian border.

The Irish team have opened their account with 12th and 10th places in St Moritz. In recent weeks the team have been back on the European circuit aiming to qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. They are currently ranked 30th in the world, twice finished in the top 10 at the European Cup series, and 22nd at the World Cup event in Winterberg.

CANOEING: Jenny Egan reached her goal when she finished sixth in the U23 K1 class at the Canoe Marathon World Championships in Crestuma, Portugal last September. At the end of October Irish wildwater paddler Liz Shouldice became the first Irish paddler ever to win a World Cup medal when she finished third in the Ouse 7km Classic -- the fifth leg of the Wildwater World Cup Series in Tasmania.

Overall, Shouldice finished with a world ranking of eighth after third, fifth, sixth and seventh placings in the six World Cup rounds.

At a memorable 50th Liffey Descent the Loew brothers from South Africa repeated their win of last year in the K2 class, setting a new record for the course. Deaglan O Drisceoil was the surprise winner of the men's K1 class and Liz Shouldice in a class of her own among the women.

Slalom canoeist Eoin Rheinish had a quiet year after his heroic fourth at the Beijing Olympics. He still finished ninth at the World Championships in La Seu D'Urgell, Spain.

OLYMPIC HANDBALL: A win in their final match against Scotland saw Ireland finishing third at Olympic handball's Challenge Cup held in Malta last November. The Irish had hoped to finish second but a 20-26 loss in their first match to Malta scuppered their chances.

Locally, Dublin International broke Lunasa's grip on the Irish league, which resumes early in the new year.

HOCKEY (MEN): Although they ended up third and failed to make the World Cup, the Irish men's hockey team can hold their heads high after a courageous display at November's qualifying tournament in Argentina.

A loss to Belgium and a draw with the Czech Republic sealed their fate.

During the summer the men had won the Euro Nations Trophy in Wales after finishing runners-up to Poland at the inaugural Champion's Challenge II at Belfield, which went to penalty flicks.

Domestically, Pembroke Wanderers dominated. They hammered Cookstown 6-0 in the Irish Senior Cup final at Belfield, and also won the inaugural Irish Men's Hockey League. In April, they made it a second win for Ireland at the EuroHockey Club Trophy, which they hosted at Dublin's Serpentine Avenue. Glenanne won the title a year earlier.

HOCKEY (WOMEN): UCD shocked the mighty Pegasus when they beat them 4-1 to win their first ever ESB Irish Senior Cup title. Loreto won the inaugural Irish Women's Hockey League, while in Leinster, Railway Union won the women's league for the first time in the 105-year history of the club and are currently top of the table again. So on the whole it was a good year for Leinster hockey! The Irish women's team heads for the World Cup qualifiers in Chile next April.

LACROSSE: Ireland finished fifth at the inaugural Women's World Lacrosse Cup held in Prague last July after beating Wales 12-7 in a dramatic play-off interrupted by a storm with the score at 10-7.

Throughout the tournament the team lost only to the eventual winners USA in the quarter-finals. Star players included Lauren Cohen, whose family comes from Co Clare.

Of the 18-strong squad, most were experienced league players from north America with Irish connections who are helping to nurture the sport in this country.

KICKBOXING: Ireland took four medals at the WAKO World Kickboxing Championships held in Villach, Austria. Mark McDermott made the semi-contact -74kg final, losing to Gregorio Di Leo of Italy. Jason Doyle -63kg, Jay Daniels -79kg, and Robbie McMenamy -74kg all made the semi- finals, taking bronze medals. The top four in each class were picked for the inaugural World Combat Games in Beijing next August.

PARACYCLING: Catherine Walsh from Swords won a silver medal for the 3km individual pursuit at the World Track Cycling Championships in Manchester in November -- a first medal ever for Ireland at this level.

Walsh, with her pilot rider Caroline Ryan, finished second with a time of 3.38.756 behind the American pair of Karissa Whitsell and Mackenzie Woodring. Walsh, who is visually impaired, won a pentathlon medal at the Sydney Paralympics and then transferred her talents to cycling.

Also setting an Irish record in the 200m sprint was the men's tandem pair of Michael Delaney and Con Collis. In the 4km individual pursuit, Cathal Miller finished fourth in another new Irish best.

RACQUETBALL: After a blip last year, Noel O'Callaghan resumed his dominance of the men's singles at the 30th All-Ireland Racquetball Championships in Kingscourt last March, where he won his 18th title.

Until last year O'Callaghan, from Fermoy, had one of the longest winning streaks in world sport having won an unprecedented 17 national titles. In Ireland, only javelin thrower Terry McHugh had been unbeaten for longer with 21 national titles.

At the All-Irelands, O'Callaghan was beaten in the semi-finals, with Liam Hughes going on to win the title.

This year Hughes lost in the quarter-finals, and in the final O'Callaghan dropped the first set but went on to beat Patrick Hanley of Fermoy. In the women's final, defending champion Ciara McManamon, aged 16 from Newport, Co Mayo, beat her twin sister Clodagh.

ROWING: In a thrilling climax to the National Rowing Championships last July in the National Rowing Centre, Inniscarra, Cork, NUIG beat Queen's virtually on the line to win the men's eights. Successfully defending the women's eights title they won last year was the composite team from Muckross/Carlow.

Former world lightweight single sculls champion Sinead Jennings won her first double sculls title with Ceara O'Connor.

She lost to Sanita Puspure, originally from Latvia, in the singles sculls. Seán Jacob won the men's singles sculls.

SAILING: Irish sailors by and large exceeded their 2009 targets. Early in the season Peter O'Leary and Tim Goodbody won the Star Spring European Championship, Annalise Murphy won the Dutch Europa Cup and Matty O'Dowd followed this with a victory in the Danish Europa Cup, both sailing Laser Radials.

Murphy, of the National Yacht Club and competing on the senior circuit for the first time, finished eighth and first U21 from a field of 87 sailors in the World Laser Radial Women's Championship in Japan.

A week later, at the same venue in Japan, Philip Doran and Oliver Loughead finished 9th and 12th overall at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships.

At national level, Nicholas O'Leary beat his father Anthony to win the All-Ireland Sailing Championships title in October.

SNOOKER: David Hogan from Borrisokane, Co Tipperary created snooker history when he became the first Irishman to win the European snooker title in Antwerp, Belgium last June.

Three Irish players made the semi-finals, with Hogan beating fellow Munster player Mario Fernandez from St John's in a quality final. Brendan O'Donoghue, like Hogan from the New Institute club in Nenagh, lost to Fernandez in the semi-finals.

Eight years after he first won the title, Martin McCrudden from Celbridge came out on top at the Irish Snooker Championships held in the Ivy Rooms Academy, Carlow.

McCrudden had to fight all the way in the final, which saw him pitted against David Hogan, who is now playing on snooker's main tour.

SQUASH: Madeline Perry came agonisingly close to becoming the first Irish player to win the British Open -- the squash equivalent of Wimbledon. In the quarter-finals Perry sensationally beat world No1 Nicole David. In the best year of her long career, Perry also reached the final in three world-ranked tournaments and ends the year world ranked No8.

Aisling Blake also had her best year to date, winning a minor tournament in Malaysia and reaching two quarter-finals. She ends the year ranked 28th. At the European Team Championships, Perry, Blake and Tanya Owen narrowly missed third place. The Irish men finished seventh.

SURFING: Sligo bodyboarder Ashleigh Smith took a bronze medal at the European Surfing Championships in Jersey. Smith was part of the 16-strong Denny Irish Surf Team to compete at the Championships.

Nicole Morgan just missed a place in the final of the women's surf event and had to settle for seventh place, while Sligo pair Shane Meehan and Seamus McGoldrick reached the quarter-finals of the open bodyboard, finishing joint ninth. The Irish team finished eighth overall.

SWIMMING: In September Cork swimmer Lisa Cummins became the first Irish swimmer ever to manage a double crossing of the English Channel.

Cummins had to wait in Dover for more than a week for good conditions and her swim took her 35hrs 36mins. It is by some way the longest swim ever undertaken by an Irish swimmer.

This year has been a good one for the Irish on the Channel. In August Julieann Galloway, an American based in Dublin, swam to France in 9hrs 51mins -- the fastest by any woman this year. On Tuesday Owen O'Keefe from Fermoy, aged 16, did the trip in 10hrs 19mins and is the youngest Irish swimmer so far to make it. Also successful over the summer were Maureen McCoy, Stephen Redmond, Chris O'Sullivan, Charles Harper and Diarmuid Boyle.

TAEKWONDO: An Irish grandmother, along with her daughter and grandson, all took gold medals for the Irish Tae Kwon Mudo team at the Doncaster Open last October.

Doreen Duffy, her daughter Anita O'Brien and Anita's son Dylan O'Brien were part of an Irish team of 11, which won nine gold, 10 silver and five bronze medals in total.

TEN-PIN BOWLING: Kerena Dykes from Tallaght was the star of the 21st Irish Ten-pin Bowling Open in Stillorgan Leisureplex in Dublin last January when she won the women's title for the second time in three years.

In 2007 Dykes became the first-ever Irish winner of a title at this popular tournament. European champion Paul Moor from England took the men's open title.

TRIATHLON: Bryan Keane underlined his status as the rising star of Irish triathlon when he beat an international field to win the Tri Athlone European Cup by over a minute. Keane was 20th out of the water after a closely bunched swim in the River Shannon. A former semi-pro cyclist, he then clocked a stunning time of 55mins 20secs for the cycle -- the fastest time of the day and held out on the run to win in 1:45.59. Fifth was Gavin Noble in 1:47.17.

Aileen Morrison proved best of the Irish when she finished 13th in the women's race at the European Triathlon in Holten, Holland. Over the longer distance, Liam Dolan of Setanta set a new Irish Ironman record of 9:02.48 at Austria Ironman in Klagenfurt.

TUG OF WAR: A well-drilled Irish team beat Switzerland to win the men's 680kg title at September's European Tug of War Championships in Assen, the Netherlands.

It was a first Irish gold in this division since 1987.

In the semi-finals, Ireland was drawn against the home side from the Netherlands, who are the reigning World Games champions. Some fine pulling booked their place in the final, along with the Swiss, who had beaten Germany in the other semi-final. With great support from the large Irish contingent, the Irish men pulled their way to the European title with a straight-end victory.

VOLLEYBALL: Three out of four ain't bad -- and the Aer Lingus volleyball club was in celebratory mood last April when they won both men's and women's titles at the Association Cup finals held in UCD Belfield. A few weeks earlier their women's team had also annexed the women's Premier 32 League title. Their rivals in both cup finals were UCD.

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